Ceremony honors I5 for contributions, achievements
By Joni Aten - Staff Reporter
The 2018 Spring Women in Action Celebration was a Latinx experience: Celebrating Culture and Representing Change.
The celebration was held on May 9, in the Mt. Constance room of Building 8.
Reflecting the Puente Program and Latinx culture, the room was decorated with papel picados and centerpieces made of Mexican candy.
The keynote speaker Stephanie Ojeda Espinoza who began her speech by acknowledging the presence of her parents and followed with a metaphor that school is like climbing a mountain.
"You're ready in the beginning, but when it starts getting steeper and you're getting tired, you start to get over it," Espinoza said.
Her speech was a motivational message to keep students on task. She reminded students that they are not alone as they go through the struggles of school since their advisers and professors also are part of the journey to success.
Most people are pressured to pursue a college degree so that they can have a successful career and make money, she said.
However, "College is a different approach to getting money,"
"We all have knowledge [although] some are just not as valued as others," she said.
She said some people have a lot of knowledge in things like fixing auto parts or construction, but others wouldn't value those knowledges over politics or science.
However, there are people who would rather be a mechanic or a construction worker rather than becoming a politician or a scientist, she said.
Turning her speech to the topic of culture, Espinoza said that "culture isn't just your ancestry."
Culture can be the common things you share with people whether that be in the classroom, household, or in a community.
She talked about how many people judge or show passive aggression towards people who do not share the same ancestral culture.
An example she used was of when she was told that her family barbequing in her front yard was "ghetto." People called that "ghetto" because it wasn't common for people around the area to be cooking food where the whole neighborhood can see. However, that was her family's way of doing their barbeques. It was their culture.
"Don't let people make you feel less because you don't belong," she said.
She told her audience to ditch the imposter syndrome and focus on their goals and their successes rather than the doubts of other people because you are different.
At the end of the celebration, 15 individuals were awarded Women in Action certificates:
Doris Martinez, Leida Arciniega, Vicky Montgomery, Eileen Jimenez, Valerie Lambert, Blia Xion, Jennifer Joseph – Charles, Jennifer Sandler, Elouise Cassatt (Ellie), Julie Pollard, Lolita Washington, Michelle McClendon, Tamara Hampton – Hoston, Sharonda Palmer, and Jacqueline Diller.
To start off the celebration, the Women's Programs sold raffle tickets to fundraise for its Emergency Funds Scholarships. The scholarship can help students with any financial crisis, whether that be rent, fees, etc.
Deana Rader, director of the Women's Programs, welcomed the audience and acknowledged the many generous donors who helped contribute to the Emergency Funds Scholarship and provided the gifts that were up for raffle at the event.